Police in Puerto Rico captured a rhesus macaque monkey on Friday that was being chased by a crowd of people at a public housing complex near the U.S. territory’s north coast.

The monkey was found injured and exhausted in the laundry room of an apartment within the Beautiful View complex in the coastal city of Arecibo, said Officer Joel Vidot Soto, who captured the animal.

“I rescue dogs and cats in general,” he told The Associated Press, adding that it was his first time capturing a monkey.


Vidot, who works at the animal welfare and protection police unit in Arecibo, said that he carries equipment in his patrol car to capture any type of animal, but that none of it was necessary on Friday.

“The monkey was being chased by some 25 people with cameras and video cameras,” he said, adding that it was agitated but tired by the time he arrived.

Police shared pictures that show Vidot cradling the monkey, which had a catchpole around its neck for safety and was clutching the officer’s right hand as they emerged from the apartment.

Vidot said the monkey had an open wound on its back right paw that was still bleeding.

“That’s what has me a bit worried,” he said, adding that he doesn’t differentiate between a monkey and other animals that he has previously rescued. “It’s still a life that must be protected, that must be cared for.”

Vidot said that he took the injured monkey to the detention center of exotic animals run by Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural Resources.

Rhesus macaques are native to south, central and southeast Asia, but they have been found across Puerto Rico, where they are believed to be descendants from escapees from research projects. It’s rare to find them in urban areas.

One monkey in particular caught the attention of many after it was spotted in a eucalyptus tree along a busy street in the capital of San Juan in November 2021. The monkey vanished before officials were able to catch it.

Hundreds of rhesus monkeys also roam free on Cayo Santiago, a tiny island off Puerto Rico’s southeast coast that is home to a research field station.

Macaques are omnivores, live between 20 to 40 years in captivity and share more than 90% of their DNA sequence with humans.

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